Faith Is Looking Beyond the Struggle

God is love, but must His children struggle?

Pain 100% Hot Sauce (200 ml), Habaneros only...Photographed by: Tim 'Avatar' Bartel, under CCA-SA

Pain 100% Hot Sauce (200 ml), Habaneros only…
Photographed by: Tim ‘Avatar‘ Bartel, under CCA-SA

33 I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”

~ Jn 16:33 (HCSB)

It is interesting that Jesus promised His followers they would know trouble! This stands in direct contrast to the “prosperity preachers” you often hear about, or even some groups that wrongfully claim to be part of the body. In their view, if you are suffering, “You must be sinning.” God was not well pleased with Job’s three comforters when they wrongfully accused Job, however.

A couple of days ago, COGWA posted on the COGWA Members site an interesting article about “God’s People Must Struggle“. It opens:

Years ago I heard someone say that if a Christian is not struggling—he or she is not doing anything. After thinking about the statement, I had to agree. Satan is the god of this world, and he has designed nearly everything in this system of his (which is opposed to God) to make living God’s way of life difficult (2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9)! …

The article reminds us as well that even Jesus, the Son of God, struggled greatly.

Sometimes, we ask, “Why?”, but we come up far short in answers. Perhaps, we should be asking, “Why not?”, as in what would happen if we did not struggle. Would we then take credit for it all?

This evening, Jim Franks’ member letter dated 5 November arrived in my inbox. In part, he wrote:

I used the example of manna and Israel [in the sermon on the Eighth Day/Last Great Day] to make the point that we need God every day, not just in times of trial. Consider that God could have provided a week’s or even a month’s supply of manna for the Israelites in the wilderness, but He gave them just enough for each day (with the exception of the sixth day). God wants us to come to Him every day. As well, you cannot depend on others and their relationship with God. You must establish and maintain your own relationship. My desire was that after all the sermonettes and sermons we heard (and we heard some excellent messages at both sites where we attended), we must go home from the Feast determined to improve our relationship with God and make Him the center of our lives. That was the “just one more thing” and my attempt to summarize a most wonderful Festival.

Perhaps our struggles should be a reminder of our frailty and just how easily ancient Israel forgot God! Maybe, as apparently was the case with Job, things might come too easily, and in our complacency we can actually move away from God even while He is blessing us!

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